Electrical engineering professor honored with Purdue research award

March 26, 2013  

Andrew Weiner

Andrew Weiner
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Andrew Weiner, the Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the 2013 recipient of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award, the most prestigious research honor in the natural sciences given by Purdue University.

Weiner and his team have shown how to finely control the spectral and temporal properties of ultrafast light pulses, a step toward creating advanced sensors, more powerful communications technologies and more precise laboratory instruments.

The pulses could be likened to strobes used in high-speed photography to freeze fast-moving objects. These laser pulses, however, are millions of times faster, with flashes lasting as little as a quadrillionth of a second - a femtosecond.

The properties of the pulses, when represented on a graph, take on specific shapes that characterize the changing light intensity from the beginning to end of each pulse. Precisely controlling this intensity, which is called "pulse shaping," enables researchers to tune the laser pulses to suit specific applications.

"As a result of Professor Weiner's work, pulse shaping is now used in ultrafast optics laboratories around the world," said Richard Buckius, Purdue's vice president for research. "His discoveries have influenced research in fields ranging from quantum control to high-speed light-wave communications."

Weiner's recent work has focused on line-by-line pulse shaping, ultrabroadband radio frequency photonics and microresonator-based signal processing, efforts which continue to push the boundaries of optical science.

Weiner earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the Purdue faculty as a professor in 1992 and was named a distinguished professor in 2002.

Weiner is author of the textbook "Ultrafast Optics," has published six book chapters and approximately 250 journal articles, and holds 13 U.S. patents.  He is a fellow both of the Optical Society of America and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He has won numerous awards for his research, including the Hertz Foundation Doctoral Thesis Prize, the Adolph Lomb Medal of the Optical Society of America, the Curtis McGraw Research Award of the American Society of Engineering Education, the International Commission on Optics Prize, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists and the IEEE Photonics Society Quantum Electronics Award.  In 2009 Weiner was named a U.S. Department of Defense National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow. 

The McCoy Award, established in 1964 by Ethel Terry McCoy in memory of her husband, is presented annually to a Purdue student or faculty member for outstanding contributions to the natural sciences. The winner is nominated by colleagues and selected by faculty representatives and the university president.

Weiner will be formally recognized next fall during the McCoy Distinguished Lecture.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Sources: Richard Buckius, 765-494-6209, rbuckius@purdue.edu

Andrew Weiner 765-494-5574, amw@purdue.edu

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